Welcome readers! After an interesting interview with Dana Lookadoo who is a picture perfect inspiration despite her tragic accident, all my heartfelt prayers and well wishes to her, I am excited to have Cyrus Shepard with me today.
Cyrus Shepard is Moz’s “Senior Content Astronaut”, one of the most reputed SEO persons of our community. He has written a number of blog posts for Moz, writes on his own blogs, speaker at several conferences and a true inspiration to many.
Here is the interview with Cyrus Shepard that I was lucky enough to get.
Kumail: Hello Cyrus! Welcome to KumailHemani.com. It’s a pleasure to talk have you here today – Thank you for joining us. Here’s an imaginary cup of coffee to go along with the interview.
Cyrus: Let’s imagine it had 2x the caffeine!
Q: I have many questions to ask you about content, its strategy and marketing. But, I want to start with, what is your typical day routine and how do you manage your daily tasks and living?
A: Actually, I’m horrible at time management. I procrastinate, prioritize the wrong things and generally feel super-ineffective. That said, my typical day looks like this:
- 8:30 Rise – Dress – Head to Work – Catch up on social media on the bus
- 9:30 Coffee Shop Breakfast – Arrive at Moz
- 9:30 – 11 Catch up on email, project planning, read everything online looking for candidates for the Moz Top 10
- 11:00 – 1:00 Meetings and Project Time
- 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch
- 2:00 – 5:00 More meetings and project time. Maybe hit the gym for an hour
- 5:00 – 9:00 Time with my wife Dawn
- 9:00 – 12:00 Heads down time. Prepare for the next day.
Q: Let’s begin with the launch of a new website. What is the best SEO start for a new born domain/website and how can it start getting influences?
A: If I’m starting a new site, there are 2 things I want to get right before I start marketing it. First is a beautiful design, the second is to answer all questions anyone might have when they first visit. This might mean an extensive FAQ, about us, team page, a few articles and videos describing the service or basics of the website, etc.
Most people do these steps, but only put about half the effort they should into these very important steps.
Next, what most people do at this point is start submitting to directories and spamming social media. While I don’t recommend this, I do recommend connecting the site to your various social media profiles, and highlighting the new site on another high quality guest channel.
At this point, starting a new site is no different than starting any link building campaign. The temptation to take shortcuts is strong, but the basics are the same. In order to get people to link you have to give them a good reason. This doesn’t change if your website is 1 day old or 10 years.
Q: What according to you is the difference between good content and great content?
A: Good content serves a purpose. Great content stirs strong emotions.
Q: If a company can invest in only one content marketing method, which one should they prefer over others and why?
A: Blogging is by far the easiest and requires the smallest initial investment, but that’s also probably why there are so many low-quality blogs out there. Regardless, the practice of producing regular content via a blog is a good habit to start for any company looking to develop a content production calendar.
Q: Well, I see content building is the safest method for SEO. I want to know, what mistakes do most people make during content marketing campaign that is hindrance to success?
A: I have a controversial of link building called the 90/10 rule. This means spend 90% of your time creating content, and 10% promoting it.
People think that’s crazy, but the biggest mistake I see people make is creating really poor quality content. Then, when they try to share it, they are perplexed that nobody wants to link to it. So they spend all this extra time and effort trying to promote something that is not really worth it.
For the little guy, you may need to spend extra effort promoting your content for links and shares, but this job is exponentially easier if you spend more of your time creating better content in the first place. I may not be able to get small businesses to follow the 90/10 rule, but if this means moving the needle to 40/60 or even 70/30, we might end up with better content and a lot less work required to earn links and mentions.
Q: What is your favorite content influential activity?
A: Don’t ask for links, ask for shares.
If you ask for a link you may or may not get it (likely no). But many more people are willing to share, and shares multiply quickly and often lead to links. Plus, social sharing activities were the most highly correlated metrics in Moz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors.
Q: What’s the most brilliant content marketing campaign you have run as yet and what was the ROI? Just a little summary would be awesome.
A: I’m going to step aside and defer to my college Dr. Pete, who runs both the Google Algorithm Update History and MozCast. Both of these are ongoing content projects that Dr. Pete updates regularly, and have resulted in hundreds of thousands of visits (and growing constantly). That, and our regular updates to the Beginner’s Guide to SEO have constituted big wins for Moz.
Q: If you get a chance to build a team of 5 SEOs to work with you, whom you will choose?
The question is, if I worked everyday with these guys on an SEO project, what would I do?
Kumail : Haha, Nice one.
Q: What are the first 3 steps to take, if I have to launch a new website with a different ccTLD and language, when the first domain is quite a successful in the first region?
A: I don’t do a lot of international SEO, so I’m probably not the most qualified to answer the question. So the first step would be to contact our friend Aleyda Solis, who as far as I am concerned is the best International SEO expert around, hands down! I’m sure she would tell me to use proper hreflang alt tags.
Q: Transparency builds brands – would you agree to this in relation to building consumer trust?
A: I think it’s a great policy and one I personally follow thanks to Rand and others in the industry. Sadly, I wish it were truer. Many brands build up trust without transparency through clever marketing and advertising spend. It’s a workable shortcut, but not always sustainable.
Q: How does it feel to be a part of KumailHemani.com? What piece of advice would you give me to make this site even better?
A: I love this blog and the place it serves in the community. We need more contributors like you in the industry! Cheers.
Can I have more coffee now?
Kumail : You can have all the coffee you want, Your interview is worth all the coffee stock in my cupboard.
Thank you once again Cyrus. It was a definite pleasure to talk to you and even more pleasure on having you on KumailHemani.com.
I look forward to seeing you again.